Oumou Sangaré melds Malian tradition and Parisian production
Oumou Sangaré’s 1990 debut album, Moussolou, challenged conservative Malian society with its brave statements on women’s rights and sensuality, and here she reinvigorates her musical traditions with an exciting contemporary edge.
Bidding farewell to the prestigious World Circuit label, which produced her previous albums, and teaming up with crack Parisian producers, her lyrics of advisory social comment are now powered by guitar, bass and drums, as well as kamale ngoni and Malian percussion.
Oumou’s Wassoulou tradition is still at the heart, but with extra muscle underpinning the compelling twists and turns of the vocal lines. It works superbly and nowhere better than on Yere Faga, where the sound of the legendary Tony Allen kicking in behind one of the greatest voices in African music is supremely satisfying.